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Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 13, 2010 10:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

Funny you say that, when all this talk about unique/one-off jams began, I had an urge to pull out 7/25/72. Wonderful show, as is the following night. One of the better Other Ones of the year, imo.

I've never quite been as fascinated with the post-Caution jam from 3/22/72 as many others. It is a good enough Caution, followed by an interesting jam as well that deserves accollades, but I've just never been as in love with it as others are.

Somehow I never noticed the short "tuning jam" after the 12/2/71 Sugar Magnolia. Very nice indeed, thanks for the tip. It does sound like later jams such as 3.23.72.

Also, 12/31/72 has long been a favorite, I mean you just don't find such extended jamming that long played that well every day. But I'll have to pull that out and pay closer attention to the end of that Other One, I don't particularly recall the final jam from memory. Same with 8/14/71, also long been a favorite, but I'm drawing a blank on the particular segment you mentioned. I'm sure when I hear it will feel like seeing an old friend and I'll say "oh yeah, THIS part, I love this!"

I've always felt that the jam near the end of the 9/21/72 Star should deserve some higher status as a unique/one-off jam. It's always been one of my favorite themes that somehow seems to sum up/wrap up that 30-some odd minute journey perfectly before heading into Morning Dew. Just the perfect, most appropriate little segue.

Not enough can be said about the Watkins Glen jam. It doesn't really fit into any category. Take say the long jam out of Truckin from 3/24/73 (and the Spanish Jam of telepathic perfection that follows). You could really consider it to be a sortof "middle" section of any Star, or maybe Other One from the year (of course I lean towards DStar as they go on to play a concise version later). Same with the long jam out of 6/28/74's Let it Grow, for quite a spell it has some Dark Star features, as well as that absolutely beautiful, "dreamy" chord progression started by all know the one. For some reason this also reminds me of the very brief DS feel to the jam RIGHT before Wharf Rat on 11/21/73. It's like a simultaneous jam on DS and Wharf Rat. I think 7/18/76 has a similar weirdness to the Wharf Rat.

Anyway I'm getting off track. Watkins Glen's "soundcheck jam" is truly one of a kind. Then again, I personally feel that the Dark Star from 8/1/73 is really a continuation of the music played at WGlen, it is very unique. Something about the whole jam from that show (8/1)that feels "ahead of it's time" or something. Perhaps it's just the last real blaze of improvisational glory before the rather structured jamming of the "horns" shows. Then, well, Fall 73 is a WHOLE nother subject...

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Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 13, 2010 10:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

I hate to reply to myself, but I forgot to mention 1974 jams. If you want a great one-off, don't forget the It's a Sin jam from 6/18.

As for the rest of 74, that goes back to what I said about jams like 3/24/73, it's sortof a generic DStar/Other One jam. Most all the jams from 74 have that similar feel, mainly all the ones that come out of Truckin. While each has their own unique qualities, almost all of them sound like one long "generic 74" jam (such as 8/5/74's long almost generic other-one-ish jam out of Truckin). In a year that saw very few DStars and Other Ones, pretty much all of the hot jammage came out of either Truckin or Weather Report. I think that may be one of the things I like best about that year, you still saw lots of crazy jamming, but it was starting to branch out more from the "Dark Star one night, Other One the next" format of 72, and 73 to an extent. I think a lot of that began with Playing in the Band showing up in second sets in 73, and becoming the framework for various sandwiches. By 74, you had a band that had mastered collective improvisation, and were able to all jump from jam to jam to theme to song perfectly, usually always involving a bit of a Mind Left Body or Spanish theme (a la 7/31/73, 10/17/74, etc).

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 14, 2010 10:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

Yeah, when I talk about 'unique jams' I don't mention '73/74 much, simply because (esp. in '74) so many nights have unique unexpected jams....yet they're not 'themed' like earlier jams were, they're closer to pure improvisation, & so harder to pick apart & describe.

I don't think the 3/22/72 Caution is that great (they hadn't played it in a while, of course!) but I do love that ending. (I'm not so fond of the 6/18/74 It's A Sin as a jam wrap-up, but there you go....)

I believe the 9/21/72 Dark Star jam does have a pretty high status already! Actually (along with the end of the 4/8/72 Dark Star) it's an early version of the Mind Left Body theme....with a very different feel, of course. One thing about the MLB riff though, it could vary quite a bit from show to show, they didn't 'lock it down' as much as, say, Feelin' Groovy. But the end of the 3/23/72 Dark Star also comes to mind as unique - kind of a combination of Feelin' Groovy and Sugar Magnolia, so it's new yet familiar at the same time.

Anyway, back to '73/74, the jams have been described as a 'conversation' that the Dead continued from night to night. (Weir later thought that their '74 jams were becoming too inward, that the band was playing improvs just for themselves & losing the audience...) In terms of being more varied and random than the Dead's earlier jams, that era could be their improvisational high-water mark, since they don't lean on familiar themes as much as they did earlier. (Although I tend to prefer the energy & freshness of '72.)

Speaking of unique Dark Stars, 12/6/73 is as unique as they get.... It certainly divides listeners - there's a recent review of that show from someone who hated it!
"One of the worst Dark Stars I have ever heard...not really the song at all but just some space continues to go nowhere w/ Phil intermittently assaulting our ears w/ bass sustain and feedback. This is generally what musicians do when nothing else is really happening musically."
Personally I wish they'd done more like this....and they were certainly in that bass sustain/feedback groove in Dec '73, they did it in show after show, so it certainly wasn't from being musically bored!

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Poster: Jim F Date: Jun 14, 2010 10:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

I'm in agreement on the 3/22/72 Caution. It's ok, but to me it is definitely the "worst" of the 72 Cautions (I've never been too big on the one from 3/18/71, either, it's more like one long good lovin-esque rap than the Cautions from 67-70 that we know and love). I can't really pick a favorite, but I'd say it's a tie between 4/8/72 and 5/11/72. And I didn't mean to say that the 3/22 post-Caution jam is "bad" or that I don't enjoy it, it is definitely very cool. I just remember reading a lot of hype about it before hearing it, and I guess I had too high of expectations or something, because while I enjoyed it, it just didn't quite feel like it met the expectations.

I think I mentioned earlier that I too feel that the MLBody-ish jam at the end of 9/21/72 reminds me of the late jam in 3/23/72's Dark Star. And yes, 4/8 has it's similarities.

You're so right about the MLB jams of 72-74. No two are really alike. Some are more calmer and soothing, others more rowdy, others very percussive, some faster, some slower,etc. Overall it's a theme that was played so many different ways so many different times, but every one is still recognizable, and as always, brings a smile. MLBJams for me are kindof like The Eleven. It's something that always had a really happy feel to it, both of them have a overall vibe of celebration to them. MLBJams always seemed to come out of those spells of "angry Dead" or the more frightening stuff and always feel very reassuring.

I am also in agreement about your feelings towards 72's jams souding "fresher" than 74's. While 72 lacks such faves as Eyes and Weather Report, which reached some real heights in 74, there is really nothing like the improv of a 72 Dark Star or Other One. When I look for that jazzy style of jamming, I tend to lean very heavily to 72 over the following 2 years myself. That said, I think they really were on a roll in 74, I think I *like* the fact that they may have turned more inward. That's how I like a band to play, more for themselves than for the crowd.

it is rather mindboggling how one could not like the 12/6/73 Star, but then again, you won't find as many opinions and polarization anywhere else like you find in the Deadhead crowd. I think I once heard someone refer to that Star as "backwards," as in it is almost like they took the typical framework they were using at the time and played it in reverse. I guess that is kindof true.

Anyway, I think I'm about done on this thread lol. LIA, man I'd sure love to meet you sometime and have these kind of discussions for hours. I feel like we could probably talk for days. Recently I had said on here how I have been faithfuly reading ever since the GD section was added to the LMA, but that I never posted much. I have always loved your posts, ie the ones where you break down the evolution of a certain song, break down every show in a certain period (like the recent breakdown of April 1970). That's exactly the kind of stuff I do in my head or when talking to friends, but am too scatterbrained to sit down and type out. But I'm starting to get a little more involved in this forum and posting more, so maybe that will change slightly. At any rate, I appreciate those who do take the time to make such critiques and I enjoy chiming in on them. Good stuff.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 15, 2010 12:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Wow where can I find more Dark Stars/jams like this??

You probably saw this essay on the 12/6/73 Dark Star - led to some interesting discussion:
The author points out how December '73 was a particular vortex for Noisy Phil, really getting into the feedback screeches. (Didn't that fall off somewhat after Ned joined with his Seastones section in late June '74, so Phil got it out of his system there?) 12-2-73 could be my favorite example of the MLB jam coming as soothing relief after some hair-raising chaos.

Anyway, I usually give up posting to threads once they fall off the bottom of the page! Who's still reading anyway? But the Archive discussion always continues...